You don’t need to spend a fortune.


Want to make maternity clothes shopping simple? Just follow this simple guide to maternity clothes ideas. It doesn’t have to be complicated.

Start by reminding yourself that it’s only for a few months. First time moms usually start showing between 12-16 months. That leaves 28 weeks (give or take) which is only 4 months.

Do you want to spend a fortune for 4 months of clothes? I sure didn’t.

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What maternity clothes do you need?

So, so, so many kinds of maternity clothes. Pants, dresses, sweaters, swimwear, underwear. Business, casual, chic, designer. There are a lot of options.

What you need depends a lot on what you already own, your job, and what kind of life you lead. I was still teaching when I was pregnant. I didn’t need suits, but I couldn’t wear sweatpants and jeans either.

Hopefully you have easy access to a washer and dryer. To keep your costs down you’ll want to buy a small and simple capsule wardrobe. Wash, wear, repeat. Get over the idea of lots of variety and embrace wearing the same things for those 4 months. Keep reminding yourself its only for a short time and spend the money you save on fun baby stuff!!

A Capsule Wardrobe

My simple guide to maternity clothes ideas starts with a capsule wardrobe.

My capsule wardrobe looked like this:

5-10 maternity t-shirts/ long sleeved shirts

4 maternity dresses

3-4 maternity tank tops (I was pregnant in the summer. Plus these are great for layering when another shirt becomes too short).

2 pairs maternity dress pants

1 pair maternity jeans

1 pair maternity yoga pants (I did yoga up to my 36th week)

2 pairs super comfy maternity capris (pants or sweats if its winter for you)

If you’re wondering what I wore to bed, that would be regular x-large t-shirts and my husband’s pajama bottoms. I wasn’t trying to win any fashion contests, I was comfortable, and they were free. That is truly maternity clothes ideas made simple!

You will have to buy some things so this simple guide to maternity clothes ideas moves on to where to shop.

Three best places to buy

  • WALMART – I have never been much of a Walmart clothes shopper. Their regular clothes just don’t fit me that great. But they were fantastic for maternity wear.
    • $8-$14 for t-shits, tanks and long sleeved shirts
    • $14-$20 for dresses and pants
    • Quality is good, styles are pretty basic but current
  • TARGET I used to buy all my t-shirts and long-sleeved shirts at Target. Their Mossimo brand fit me well and went on sale for like $6 a shirt once or twice a year. Then they changed brands and nothing fits me well there anymore. Maternity wear is such a different ball of wax though.
    • $10-14 for t-shirts, tanks and long-sleeved shirts
    • $20-$30 for pants
    • $25-$30 for dresses
    • Quality is good, a bit more stylish than Walmart
  • KOHLS Who does not love a 30% off coupon to Kohls? Put that puppy to use on your maternity wardrobe.
    • $15-$24 for t-shirts, tanks and long-sleeved shirts
    • $15-$38 for pants and dresses
    • Quality is good. They cover the basics well.
    • While prices seem higher they frequently have sales. Stack that 30% off onto a sales price and you get a great deal.

Buying in the store

The best places to buy maternity clothes are online. Unless you are going to Motherhood Maternity (which is in every mall on earth) you will find very few maternity items in stores. The Walmart near me has none. The Target has one rack. Ditto for Kohls. It seems maternity has moved to mostly online sales.

That’s fine. Just buy and return. I would order enough to hit the free shipping, try it all on at home, and return it to the physical store in my area. It didn’t cost me any extra and if my husband took the returns I never had to step foot in the store. That’s maternity clothes made simple by shopping with your feet up. It’s great!

A Word About Size

Any guide to maternity clothes needs to talk about size. Maternity sizes are all over the map. I was very lucky to have access to a shared box of maternity clothes. They travel around to whichever of my friends are pregnant. We tell everyone to ignore what’s on the tag and try it all on. The pair of jean capris I wore nearly every day of the summer were a size small. I don’t wear small when I’m not pregnant!

The point is to get one of every size and see what actually fits.

Other Things You’ll Need

maternity clothes made simple sneakers

BELLY BAND – This is the most important early pregnancy accessory you’ll need. It’s a stretchy tube of fabric that you wear over the waistband of your pants when you can no longer zip them. You’re not ready for full panel maternity pants yet. You want to stretch out the time you can wear your regular clothes as long as possible. Get one white and one black. That way if your top rides up it just looks like you’ve layered.

NON UNDERWIRE BRAS – Trust me on this. The ladies are going to get uncomfortable in your nicely structured bras. At some point in this journey your only goal will be to keep them comfy. I bought nursing bras for this purpose. That way you can use them longer. Plus you don’t have to worry about finding nursing bras once baby is here. I love this super comfy bra.

SHOES – Your feet will swell. Guaranteed. You’re covered by some good flip-flops if your third trimester is in the summer. I wear these flip-flops. They are cute and have great support. In winter, you may need to go up a half-size to a size in some sturdy, comfy shoes or sneakers. If you’re like me your feet will become permanently larger after pregnancy. It killed me to throw out hundreds of dollars in shoes when it was clear they would never fit again.

SEASONAL ITEMS – Timing is everything with maternity clothes. I needed a swimsuit because my third trimester was in the summer. You might need a winter coat or some sweaters.

Wrapping it All Up

So there you have it. Hopefully this guide made maternity clothes ideas simple or at least gave you an idea of where to start. If you buy it all new, you can have a decent maternity wardrobe for around $300. If you have friends to borrow from or buy from Facebook Marketplace or thrift stores you can do it even cheaper. You’ll look great!

Where did you get great maternity deals? Any tips for dressing your bump on the cheap? I’d love to learn from you in the comments.


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